Malta coach suspended after misconduct allegations by player

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) Malta coach Davis Mangia was suspended because of an allegation by a national team player of "inappropriate conversation," the Maltese soccer federation said Wednesday.

The 48-year-old Mangia was suspended on Tuesday for what the Malta Football Association said was an "alleged breach of its policies," with assistant coach Davide Mazzotta replacing the Italian for a 2-1 win over Israel.

The MFA said its executive board held an "urgent meeting" on Wednesday so that its members could be "briefed on the nature of the misconduct claims allegedly stemming from inappropriate conversation."

"Bjorn Vassallo, the President of the Malta FA, gave a step-by-step account of the events that led the Association to temporarily suspend Mangia once the player reported the matter to Malta FA officials," the MFA said in a statement. "The Malta FA President explained the course of action undertaken by the Association after speaking to the player who was immediately offered any support needed."

The board ratified the decision to suspend Mangia and said the allegations will be investigated further. Mangia was appointed as Malta coach in December 2019, signing a four-year contract.

The MFA also stressed that it had looked into allegations of misconduct by Mangia before he was hired but said that at the time, the only claim was in an unfounded media report in Italy from 2016.

"It is of paramount importance that we explain the background checks undertaken by the Association prior to Mangia's appointment," Vassallo said. "Contrary to speculation, the Malta FA was thorough in its efforts to assess the coach's background based on official information provided by entities rather than relying on speculation.

"The fundamental point is that we have an obligation to explain everything in an open and transparent manner. We will also be doing everything in our power to protect the identity and integrity of the players concerned."

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated September 28, 2022

@STATS_Football